Calendars!

As promised, I made some calendars if you’re interested in participating in the Don’t Break the Chain thing.

Check them out here. There’s a little different formatting on each and room at the top to be able to write in the goal you’re working on each day!

What are you going to be working on?

Don’t break the chain

Hey everyone!

I’m here again, and I’m going to be making some changes this year! It’s going to look a little different than it did last year, but it’s still going to be awesome. All are welcome to join!

This year I’ll be using the idea of not breaking the chain. It’s an idea that I was introduced to by Charlie McDonnell last year on YouTube.

To be honest, I’m far too tired right now to look up all the links and video and such, but I plan on writing (somewhere) daily this month at least, so I’ll get you that information soon!

What have you got going this year?

Reading again

I’ve kind of fallen off the bandwagon with this whole making changes thing, but I don’t feel so bad when I look at the amount of pending posts here. It looks like we’ve all gotten a bit busy.

Last month I bought a Nook before leaving Barnes & Noble, so I could take advantage of the discount (only to have them lower the price now, of course!). It’s been awesome, and I’ve been reading almost non-stop since then. So this month I’m not only going to read 4 books (I would say 5, but I do have a bit of a vacation coming up in less than 3 weeks, and it’s not a reading type of vacation), I’m going to make sure that The Happiness Project is one of them.

I’m not used to reading non-fiction books, which I think is why it was so easy for me to not pick it up again when I put it down, but it’s what I’m committing to this month, so it’s going to happen! I hope to come out of this change with a great new appreciation for reading (and I already love it) and some great ideas and tips on continuing this 12 changes project.

What have you guys been up to? Any awesome successes? Any tips for us to learn from some hard times you’ve had?

Four months in!

Four months in and I’m still working hard on maintaining the goals from the previous months and adding in a new one for the month of April: meditate.

We’re 17 days in and I’d say my success rate is about 25% at this point. Work has been supremely busy and stressful, especially at the end of March and into April. I had a few freak out days when meditating would have been the answer to the crazed feeling I had. I have a hard time quieting my mind when I am just sitting still– all the thoughts of all the things come barrelling into the quiet space and it’s hard to shoo them away.

To try to focus myself, I’ve taken to two different methods for meditating that are working fairly well for me. On the weekend mornings when I have no schedule or anywhere to be, I take the time to sit with either my coffee or tea in quiet. This past weekend it was pretty amazing to do that in the warm sunshine. I really just focus on myself and don’t even write or make notes on thoughts in my head, instead dismiss them to be dealt with later so that I can have the quiet time to get focused on myself and mentally prepared for whatever is ahead that day.

I’ve also done meditative walking which has been just pure awesomeness. Even when the weather has been less than gorgeous I am forcing myself to walk as soon as I get home from work. I walk in silence with no iPod and really allow my eyes, nose, ears do absorb what is around me. This has been so incredibly calming and energizing at the same time. After an hour long commute home, I am wiped out by the day and tired, but giving myself that time to walk and relax- even if only for twenty minutes- has been incredibly restorative. When I’m walking, it’s my time and by not having the iPod, I really focus on what’s around me. I’ve noticed things about houses that I drive by everyday that I haven’t seen before, smell the budding flowers, and listen to TVs, music, conversations of houses, cars, and people that go by me. I can definitely see that this change  ( along with drinking more water) will be one of the easiest to continue long term in my life and definitely one of the ones that is making me feel better about myself tenfold.

Seriously, it’s April?

The fact that the calendar says that it’s not only April, but the middle of the month already, has me simply baffled. To the core group who has stuck with this 12 changes thing, you guys ROCK! Seriously, I mean, I’m having some trouble keeping up and I helped come up with the idea!

I don’t want to focus on what I’ve done wrong though, I’d rather pay attention to how I’m going to get back to work and what I’m going to change here in April.

As of the posting of this on Saturday, I will no longer be working at Barnes & Noble. If you haven’t caught the few postings on twitter about my new job, don’t worry, I’m not just leaving one position and wandering off into the unknown. No, instead I now have a regular 8-5 office gig. It’s actually almost an hour commute for me, so I’m out of the house about 7:15-6:00 every day, but the pay is far better than B&N and I love me some NPR, so I can make it work.

I can especially make it work because it gives me some routine. It’s been hard to do with some B&N evening shifts that keep me out of the house until 11:30PM, so I’m very much looking forward to next week.

This weekend I am going to a friend’s place a couple hours away, and while he is studying on Saturday, I plan on getting a jump start on a new blogging routine I’d like to begin. Starting on Monday, I will be writing for at least 20 minutes every night at home. I’d like to make it more, but I don’t want to commit to anything until I really get into it and see how it will work in my day.

I also happen to be writing this on my lunch break at work, which I can do because I get a longer lunch break, and I can eat my lunch at my desk and then email the post to myself. It would be totally killer to be able to actually write and post on my lunch, but that’s not an option with this position, and that’s okay.

I also plan on bringing my lunches to work, partially for the time, if I don’t have to go somewhere to get food, I have more time to eat/relax/write/sleep/vlog/whatevs. It also will allow me to keep more of this new paycheck that I’m getting, which is ideal, since the time at B&N was pretty much going to pay for my gas and food for the week.

So the routine of writing at work and at for a bit at home, combined with the bringing (and therefore making) my lunches, I hope will get me to a more productive place and allow me to make adjustments to the routine to fit other changes in as I decide to make them.

Things like running, since this new job has me sitting at a desk all day rather than showing people all around a bookstore for that perfect book.

Dealing with Failed Changes

Hi Changers! I’m Cait and this is my first time posting on the 12 Changes blog. You can usually find me at Finding My Balance.

Now that we’re into the fourth month of 12 Changes (we’re a quarter of the way through!), I wanted to talk a little bit about failure. Personally, I’m not a fan, to the point where I would rather not try than try and fail. (But that’s a whole different story.) Luckily, 12 Changes make failure seem much less scary than it can usually be.

For me, February was a disaster. I was helping plan a bridal shower and then spent the second half of the month in an inexplicable bad mood. My goal had been to exercise three times a week, but it just never happened. I was stubborn about only doing it as soon as I woke up; if I had something else to do, like going to my part-time job, I skipped it. It didn’t take long before I was skipping it every single day.

In March, I gave it another shot. Still no luck. However, I succeeded with my March change of reducing my sugar intake and had a fresh slate to start with in April. This is why the 12 Changes format appealed to me and why I jumped right on board — the worst you can do is have 30 (or 31) unsuccessful days before you have a chance to start a new challenge.

Being afraid of failure means that often, I don’t even try. By doing these monthly changes, I’m learning to embrace goal-setting and realize that failing isn’t actually as bad as I think it is. It’s a learning experience, a chance to reflect on why I failed and what I can do differently next time.